For a while, it was hard to refute that Aaron Sorkin, a man who treats Internet-bashing like an Olympic sport, was pop culture’s reigning Luddite. His famous first foray into the blogosphere resulted in online name-calling and a classic West Wing episode (“You posted on a website??” an incredulous C.J. Cregg asks Josh Lyman). Just recently, he bragged that “the homepage on my web browser is Yahoo, which I’m told it shouldn’t be, but I’ve just been too lazy to change it.” And, most notably, he explained away The Social Network by assuring us that “fundamentally, you could tell the same story about the invention of a really good toaster.” But, just last week, Prince went H.A.M. to the Guardian about the “dog-eat-dog” world we know as the Internet — that scary place rife with proverbial “carjacking” and very real diminishing profit margins — and we realized Sorkin may finally have some competition. Both men clearly hate the Internet so much — but which one hates it the most? It’s a quote-off!
Sorkin: “Nothing has done more to make us dumber or meaner than the anonymity of the Internet.”
Prince: “All these computers and digital gadgets are no good. They just fill your head with numbers and that can’t be good for you.”
Sorkin: “When I read a blog piece from BobsThoughts.com, Bob could be the most qualified guy in the world but I have no way of knowing that because all he had to do to get his job was set up a website — something my 10-year-old daughter has been doing for 3 years.”
Prince: “It’s like the gold rush out there. Or a carjacking. There’s no boundaries. I’ve been in meetings and they’ll tell you, Prince, you don’t understand, it’s dog-eat-dog out there.” (Side note: This is again from the Guardian interview, the same one where the writer was asked to “Please … not discuss [Prince’s] views on the Internet.”)
Sorkin: “I think that socializing on the Internet is to socializing what reality TV is to reality.”
Prince: “The Internet’s like MTV. At one time MTV was hip and suddenly it became outdated.”
Sorkin: “From time to time I’ll read some of the comments under stories on it to get a sense of what it must be like at a Klan meeting.”
Prince: “Everybody’s a critic. People are flaming each other without any knowledge of the effect it has on others — the kind of physical, psychological effect it has on them.”
Sorkin: “It only takes five [comments] before you find somebody with a severe mental disorder.”
Prince: “The Internet’s completely over.”
And the winner is: Sorkin retains the title! Prince has been coming on strong, but his attacks are a little too logical (after all, the Internet did kill the music industry) and not nearly blisteringly wounded enough. Vulture would take this opportunity to congratulate Aaron, but, obviously, there’s no way he’s going to read this.